Updated September 19, 2022
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has confirmed six detections of the oriental fruit fly (OFF) in August 2022 in Santa Clara County. The fruit fly is an invasive pest that threatens California’s natural environment, agriculture, and economy.
The CDFA is treating two locations roughly 17 square miles in size – one in San José and the other in Sunnyvale – where fruit flies were found within 1.5 miles of each other. The department uses a “male attractant” technique to eradicate the flies. Technicians apply small amounts of bait high on street trees, utility poles and other surfaces. The bait contains a natural compound called methyl eugenol, which attracts the flies, and an organic pesticide known as spinosad, which kills them. The splotches of bait are applied 8 to 10 feet off the ground using a pressurized gun. These treatments are repeated every other week for several weeks.
Santa Clara County has been invaded by this pest several times over the past decade. Fortunately, the CDFA was able to successfully eradicate OFF each time using the male attractant technique.
The oriental fruit fly is native to the mainland of southern Asia and neighboring islands. Distribution in the United States is restricted to the Hawaiian islands. The fruit fly is known to infest more than 230 kinds of fruit and vegetables, including such valuable California crops as grapes, stone and citrus fruits, apples, pears, avocados, peppers, and tomatoes.
These infestations are likely the result of contraband fruit smuggled into California. We ask all Californians not to bring fruit or vegetables back from your travels. Visit the Don’t Pack a Pest website for more information.
If you have any questions about what items are permitted to bring into California, or if you come across produce that looks like it may be infested, contact the County of Santa Clara Division of Agriculture at [email protected] or 408-918-4600.